Is India Ready To Switch To Electric Vehicles?

News World India | 0
| October 7 , 2017 , 15:45 IST

The Indian government has charted out a long-term plan to electrify all vehicles across the nation by 2030.

In the recently held SIAM (Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers) convention, Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari even warned the automakers to either switch to clean vehicles or get bulldozed.

However, the question now arises, is India really ready for such a big change.

At first what acts as a deterrent for the industry is the government’s announcement of putting electric and hybrid vehicles under GST (goods and services tax).

The GST Council has set a 12 percent tax rate for electric vehicles. Hybrid vehicles will be taxed at 28 percent plus a 15 percent cess, thereby putting a total of 43 percent tax on the same. This step may counter the growth of environment-friendly vehicles.

According to analysts, the government should not have taxed the clean vehicles at such a high rate; 5 percent tax is acceptable at the moment. Moreover, the 15 per cent cess on hybrid cars is also a restraint for the industry.

Talking about the other aspect, Sohinder Gill, Director-Corporate Affairs, Society of Manufacturers of Electric Vehicles (SMEV), said “In India, the main problem is with people’s perception. Indians don’t prefer clean vehicles. It is not their fault also as the government has never been too keen to work for the adoption of such vehicles among the consumers.”

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He went on to say, “It is high time government should start promoting clean vehicles. If I can get a petrol/diesel Alto at Rs 3 lakh, why would I go a Rs 10-15 lakh car? Thoughts like this should change.”

Another significant point, in this regard, is infrastructure. Apart from adequate charging stations, what we should not forget is the huge traffic problem prevailing in India. Electric vehicles have a specified range; they need charging after covering a certain distance. Continuous stoppage at traffic signals will further reduce the battery life.

These laxities also never encourage much to invest their money and R&D (Research & Development) to launch electric vehicles in the country. It is clear from the point, that there are just two fully electric cars in India - Mahindra e2oPlus and Mahindra e-Verito.

However, the future is clean energy. So, automakers are trying to do their part by making new announcements regarding clean vehicles.

French automaker Renault, while unveiling its electric car ZOE in Paris Motor Show 2016, said the car is perfect for Indian conditions and consumers. So, Renault ZOE will also be launched in India.

Recently, Maruti Suzuki India Chairman RC Bhargava said, “We will introduce electric vehicles in the country after going through customer needs and preferences.”

Maruti Suzuki, at present, has two hybrid cars in India - Maruti Suzuki Ciaz Diesel SHVS (Smart Hybrid Vehicle by Suzuki) and Maruti Suzuki Ertiga Diesel SHVS.

Levi Brooklyn

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